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Full text of "Verdict On India"

HUNGER                                             205"

sit here and eat while there are people like that outside/ So we
cut two large pieces of walnut cake, poured out a jug of tea, added
some fruit and a couple of rupee notes and sent the bearer down
with it. He was a Pathan, with a deep contempt for Bengalis, and
he did not at all relish his errand, which he regarded as beneath
his dignity. However, he took down the parcel and we watched
the result.

It took the woman several minutes to rise to a sitting position.
Then, very slowly, she held up the cake and sniffed it. Then she
let it fall in the gutter, where it attracted the attention of a couple
of crows. Meanwhile the child was also stirring. He too held up
the cake and sniffed it, and for a moment it seemed as though he
was going to ,eat it.. .but no, he only crumbled it up in, his tiny
finger^. The tea they neglected completely. After a while the
woman listlessly gathered up the fruit and tied it, together with the
two rupee notes, in a bundle of filthy rags. All these actions were
performed in slow motion. An hour later she was still fumbling
with the rags. Then, with the most painful effort and many false
- starts, they staggered to their feet and shuffled away.

On the following morning, the daily official list of famine
casualties read as follows :

Admission to hospital of sick destitutes        137
Died in hospital                                           84

Bodies removed by Sanitation Squads           76

I wondered in which class would be numbered the two poor
wretcheds we had tried to help.

No useful purpose will be served, in these pages, by prolonging
a description of the agonies of this famine. The reader might be
taken on a tour of the relief kitchens or into some of the villages*
where conditions were even worse. Or into the offices of the
, ministers and the business men of all parties, with whom I dis-
cussed the problem exhaustively. He would only be harrowed
and confused.